Dallas Cowboys’ Dan Bailey has been one of the most reliable kickers in NFL history over the course of his six year career. Can he return to form?
The Dallas Cowboys are very fortunate to have one of the absolute best placekickers in the NFL. It’s a position that doesn’t get much love. But Dan Bailey has a been a model of consistency on special teams for his entire career.
However, Bailey had a down year in 2016, despite the Cowboys having their best season during his tenure. In fact, he had, statistically, the worst year of his career in 2016. On 32 field goal attempts, Bailey made only 27 – or 84.4%.
Over the course of his career, Bailey averages an 89.5% success rate when attempting field goals. Though this doesn’t account for the difficulty of each kick (distance, wind, etc), over six years it provides a good aggregate model of his efficiency.
To put that number in perspective, Justin Tucker averages 89.8% success over his five year career. Coincidentally, Tucker is the only kicker that ranks above Bailey on the all-time accuracy rankings. By all statistics, Dan the man is one of the best to ever play the game.
But still, 84.4%. Only two other times in his career did the Cowboys watch their kicker make less than 93% of his kicks. The first was his rookie season, 2011. The second was 2014. Both years Bailey managed about 86% of his kicks.
Though the 2% drop off is barely an extra miss over the course of an entire year, it still struck me as odd. Especially considering it was an extra three misses over 2015. Time will tell if Bailey can rebound next season.
The good news for the Dallas Cowboys? Every time Dan Bailey has had a “bad season” or “off year”, he has followed it up with a 93% success season. That’s music to the special teams’ ear.